I'm at the Flip the Clinic Summit in Denver working with a team of patients, caregivers, and clinicians on a Flip called Lost in Transition. The actual problem that we are trying to solve is yet to be fully fleshed out, but basically we are working to design strategies to strengthen communication between health centers and children who have chronic conditions, looking to improve a child's understanding of their chronic condition while they're so young so that they can better manage it when they're on their own. For me its about the power of empowerment. As for Flip the Clinic, it's is a community-driven open experiment to transform the patient-clinician experience (their words that explain it way better than mine ever could). I feel like I need to pinch myself to confirm that this is reality and that I'm actually here!
We started off the day talking about how we would be working together - how most of us know many things but that none of us know as much as all of us know. We talked about the elements of a "flipped clinic" - how it would be joyful, people-centered, nourishing, expansive and transparent. Flip the Clinic wants to be (and is, in my opinion) the Petri dish where new culture grows. I seriously couldn't think of a better analogy if I tried. We were challenged to think, be ambitious, and stretch possibility, to be open and challenge assumptions. Founder of Flip the Clinic, Tom Goetz said that he believes in the capacity of ordinary people to make good decisions, and all day long that's what we were doing.
One of the most interesting parts of the morning for me was a discussion about how we need to evolve the way we communicate. It often feels like we are downloading (just saying the things we always say) and debating. This feels like we are both projecting our opinions onto others and judging. It's very hard to be innovative when things feel confrontational. The opportunity that we have is to move into reflective and generative dialogue, which invites innovation and empathy. In the first two we are focused on the past, and in the latter two we are focused on the possibility.
After lunch we had the great opportunity to work in smaller groups with different influential folks from all different industries, and I chose to join a group lead by Darcy Winslow focused on massive complex change in the corporate world and in smaller organizations. And WOW. My mind was just spinning. I'll give you three key takeaways from our discussion. The first was that if we are serious about making changes in the world, we need to do it first from within. Take a risk. Step outside of your comfort zone. And think about how you show up as a leader. This is critical. (((((long pause so that sinks in)))))) I could have left after that insight alone, but I'm glad I didn't because the next key learning was around how we really need 20% buy in in order to create the momentum to move the change forward and make it unstoppable. I need to think about my 20%. Is it 20% of the pulmonary team? 20% of the CF community? 20% of the hospital? And to buy in to what? What's the goal I'm trying to achieve? And then while I'm thinking really hard about my 20%, we started to talk about getting the right people, and how we identify who those right people are. They're not always the people at the top, but they have to be influencers. The third key thing was the need to be multi-lingual; I need to be able to both understand and speak the language of the people that I want to engage. The fourth key takeaway and a motto that I will live by is to proceed until apprehended. Thats more than 3, and I could go on and on, but I've more to share.
The rest of the afternoon involved one of the more creative activities that I"ve been part of. We used Legos to build our own individual representation of part of the current healthcare system. I did our home. Then we had to explain our model to our teammates, and combine our models using the best parts of each to represent the current problem that we are trying to address. It was so fun and insightful to see how we came together to literally build the problem together, with our varying perspectives, out of Legos.
This is our house with all of the orange representing medication and Drew doing treatments and some kids with him and others protesting in another corner of the house, and the strewn legos were representative of the other chaos in our life. Healthcare doesn't just happen inside of the hospital.
Then this was what we all put together to represent transition. What you can't see that is one of my favorite parts was at the top of that ivory tower an executive that was representative of hospital administration or pharma or insurance sitting above all of us who are trapped in this disconnected system full of barriers trying to navigate these slippery slopes of transitions throughout the life cycle of a chronic illness. The "rest of my life" is on the periphery with my family and friends, and the folks who don't make it across those bridges don't make it.
Today was about identifying the problem that we want to solve, not yet creating a solution for it. Tomorrow we are going to roll up our sleeves and get to work on that. And if I have to a chance tomorrow night, or if I'm up again at 4am because time zones are evil, I will continue to reflect out loud because I think that this is both important for others to see and I want your feedback on how we can make it all work better.
Now I'm off to our progressive dinner! Cheers!